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Jeff Chiu / AP

Last year, Uber rented out Honda cars it knew were defective to Singapore drivers, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. This culminated in one of the cars catching on fire this January, though there were no injuries. The cars were part of an initiative by Uber to purchase vehicles and rent them out to get more drivers on the road in a region where few own cars.

Explained: Fundamentally, purchasing cars and renting them out goes against Uber's business model, which hinges on the company not owning assets like vehicles. It attempted to cut corners by purchasing the cars from auto importers for about 12% less than through authorized Honda dealers, per Uber's estimates. And of course, this meant that Honda wouldn't help fix the cars (nor was it obligated to), and Uber was left to deal with the importers to get the cars fixed and the subsequent delays and contingency plans after one car caught on fire.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
3 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.